by Roger Carswell
If only we could understand all of God’s mysteries! The Creator is above human comprehension and just because we cannot understand God’s ways does not mean that He doesn’t have a reason and purpose for all that He does. Christmas is a time of joy and goodwill and delighting in the age-old story of Jesus. For many, however, it doesn’t seem to make sense or fit reality.
Here are some of the mysteries of that first Christmas:
Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah foretold: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel’” (Is. 7:14). God chose that which was beyond human possibility to signify the coming into the world of the promised Messiah. He shortcut the normal, natural way of bringing children into the world because this baby was more than a mere man. Jesus was born both of a human and of God.
Long ago, the Holy God condescended to live in this world as a man. Although He had every right and reason to wash His hands of the world, He loved it, especially the people who lived there. He left the wonders of heaven to come to the woes of the world. What a stoop! God was big enough to become small, and strong enough to become as weak as a tiny baby. “God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).
To fully understand Jesus, including the Christmas story, one must look beyond the crib to the cross. The greatest act that Jesus did was not to heal the sick, raise the dead, or feed 5,000, but to die on the cross, carrying on His shoulders all our guilt and shame. Hanging on a cross, at the age of 33, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” having accomplished the work He was born to do. Dying, He bore in His body the sin of us all.
Christ left heaven to come to earth so that when we leave earth we may go to heaven. Although destined to die, after three days Jesus rose from the dead. Christ, born from a virgin womb, rose from a virgin tomb and conquered death, so that death is not the end of our existence. We can be sure of heaven—not because we deserve it, but because the Son came to bring us into an everlasting relationship with the Father.
Millions exclude Jesus from His own birthday celebration. How strange to leave out the guest of honor! Surely Christ should not be excluded from the Christmas party. Yet it always has been the same. When Mary and Joseph arrived at Bethlehem, they were told there was no room in the inn. If they arrived today, the inn’s bar probably would be crowded, and the restaurant packed with excitement. However—then and now—as people banquet, drink, laugh, and celebrate, they often inadvertently squeeze out the person for whom the festivities are intended.
From How Small a Whisper by Roger Carswell, copyright (c) 2000.
Used by permission of Kregel Publications.
Thanks also to liveit.crosswalk.com
Roger Carswell is the author of several books, including And Some...Evangelists.
He produces a weekly radio program for Back to the Bible.